Filed under: Film/Acting Family Speak | Tags: aspiring film maker, film appreciation, film education, film making, how to make a short film, oorvazi irani, short film, short films, Sowrik Datta, young filmmaker
(FILM APPRECIATION Course January 2009 batch)
The Inspiration for the Plot of the film
I spent days thinking of a plot based on the idea of the conflict – ‘Man vs Self’. Finally one night while watching Godard’s film ‘Breathless’, a thought came to my mind – What might have happened to Patricia four years after Michel died? It hit me like a bolt; I found the plot for my film. I couldn’t sleep that night
With a savings of around Rs. 40,000, I wanted to make the film but I soon realised that it was not possible so I asked my family and all my close friends to help me in whatever way they could. The response was beyond my expectations. Without questioning my filmmaking abilities even once, they all contributed greatly in financing my film. My family contributed Rs. 60,000 and six friends promised to give a total of Rs. 80,000 for my project. That brought up the budget of the film to Rs. 1.8 Lac, which was a handsome budget for a film to be shot on Video format. I was elated and at the same time felt that their hard-earned money is now my responsibility.
Satyajit Ray was a big inspiration for me and my team – he similarly started making his first film “Pather Panchali” with his own savings and it took three long years to complete at least we were more fortunate.
Equipment, Lights and Creative Solutions:
After consultation with my cinematographer, we decided to go ahead with the SONY Z7P- an HDV cam with hiring charges of Rs. 3500 per day, keeping in mind the budget and the intended feel of the film. However, I was shell shocked to see a budget of Rs. 9000 per day only for lights but we then my cinematographer found creative solutions and we ended up hiring only two lights costing Rs 1500 per day.
The auditions were conducted in the parking lot behind Prithvi Theatre as they don’t allow cameras inside their compound. Of course I had no provision in my budget to pay actors but they believed in the script and supported me with their talent. The lead character demanded unorthodox looks, matured performance, perfect diction. When Aradhna came for the auditions Rohit and me felt the character come to life and my choice was made.
The Shoot – Behind schedule:
The shooting schedule was for four days- 3 days for indoor scenes and 1 day for the outdoor shoot. The team of 19 people started on fourteenth of September towards Lonavala, where the farmhouse was located. Two of the cars in which actors and the production team were travelling and also the truck carrying the lights and the generator reached the destination on time. But the third car in which the camera was supposed to come, broke down twice on the road. Things started getting delayed.
Finally, the camera reached the location. By the time the camera finally started rolling, we were 7 hours behind schedule. Out of our initial plan to complete 7 scenes on the first day, we could manage to complete only 4 small scenes. It was clear that that even an addition of one more day in the schedule would affect my post production budget. We had to complete the shoot in the next two days.
After every one went to sleep, I was standing in the area where the first scene for the next day was to be shot. I put aside my previous shooting script and took out a fresh copy to rewrite shot breakdowns. I caught a few winks early in the morning. Me, my cinematographer and my production manager hardly took a break so that the camera keeps rolling for the full 12hours shift. We completed shooting the remaining 18 scenes in the next two days. We were back on schedule.
The film dealt mostly with a character’s silence from deep guilt, sudden violent outburst and finally a realisation. To bring out inner conflict, the editing pattern had to be slow and sensitive. Moreover, for smooth transition between scenes, ‘L-Cut’ was used, which sub-consciously helped viewers to drift with the flow of the story.
Music and Dubbing:
The film can be roughly divided into two main stages- before realisation and after realisation. Before realisation, the whole feel of the film is very gloomy & pensive and these two emotions were beautifully underlined by symphony on sombre notes. After the realisation stage, the music makes transitions from semi bright notes played on piano to Jazz and finally ending with Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’.
The film was dubbed. It took 20 hours of dubbing to complete the film.
Finally, on the first week of November, the first batch of DVDs of my short feature ‘The Atonement’ saw the light of the day. I felt like being on the top of the world! The film finally got completed. The expenses exceeded the budget, I was almost bankrupt but still happy.
What does it take to make an independent film?
Passion followed by destiny or Destiny followed by Passion- Debatable issue but I would like to vouch for both.
I have reasons.
I am grateful. I am indebted to all the people who have helped me-monetarily, technically, morally, to finish my film. I will forever remain indebted to them.
Dhruv – Production Manager/ Technical Director/ Editor/Post Production Head
Rohit – Casting Director/Production in charge.
Gautami – Cinematographer.
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